What is Climate Fresk? And why is it important to bring this activity to St. Pölten? And how can we build environmental awareness? This article answers to all of these questions!
We are super happy to share with you this news: since Nov 22 we are Climate Fresk facilitators. After having participated in Climate Fresk workshops in Shanghai, during the Hoopoe Summit 2021, our small team in St. Pölten has acquired facilitator licences to spread this impactful best practice even more. “Climate Fresk is growing and will grow faster and faster because of the structure of the association”, said Ben, our trainer. He became a Climate Fresk trainer after the facilitation of more than 50 workshops; and set up the associations Austrian chapter two years ago. Facilitating such a workshop is more about collaborative learning between the participants, rather than teaching in a traditional top-down style.
But first, what is Climate Fresk? We are speaking about a project born in France, which has spread to more that 35 countries. Imagine you are an engineer, and you discover a method to raise awareness and understanding of climate change. You notice that people are afraid to realise that we are living a period of climate change. You realise that people inclined to learn about such a complex phenomenon. And you know that people can do something about climate change only if they are aware of its causes and, most importantly, its devastating consequences. These are the ingredients of the Climate Fresk recipe. With all of this in mind, “Cédric Ringenbach”, created a playful tool to empower people in the fight against the environmental crisis.
As Green Steps, we share a basic assumption with Dr. Ringenbach: gamified learning is one of the most impactful methods to make learning attractive. Especially for children. And that’s why we found this project so worth of being made available in our European homebase of St. Pölten. The basics of the game: take 4 to 8 people and hand them about 40 visual cards to teach the causes and effects of climate change. Every player contributes to the discovery of the cause-effect links regarding the climate change crisis. Hence, one can learn about concepts as energy budget and carbon sinks while having a lemonade with his/her best friends. Of course, one should not expect the activity to be just playful and fun: realising the impact of climate change is hard and painful. That’s one of the reasons for which you should attend a training before facilitating the workshop. Despite the activity being worthy of a detailed description, this is not what I want to underline in this article. However, you can find a lot of information here.
Let’s return to the subject of this article: Why is it so important for Green Steps to bring this workshop to St. Pölten? The answer can be found in the methods and in the goals of the French association and Green Steps.
Climate Fresk aims to raise global awareness on the climate change crisis. Their current objective is to make 1 MLN of people participate in the activity developed by Mr. Ringerbach. In other words, they want to make it easier to learn and talk about climate change. Indeed, they encourage every participant to share the new knowledge with their friends, colleagues, and relatives. Therefore, they expect to grow the understanding of the planetary crisis exponentially. One of our main goals is to empower all those people who are trying to protect the planet. We allow them to scale best practices, to create a net with other activists, to join a community and to measure the impact of their actions. I think that cooperation is necessary for both sides. Empowerment cannot be achieved without awareness. Hence it would be great to provide our small city with such a useful tool for learning about climate change. Conversely, spreading awareness is easier if you can reach an interested community. Finding people prone to volunteer for the cause, being interested in using this tool is crucial when you want your activity to be discovered. The Green Steps ARK can contribute to raise the number of Climate Fresk facilitators, e.g. in Austria 66 facilitators have been trained so far, but 55 live in Vienna, none are in St. Pölten.
We found many similarities between our approaches but the one that I want to stress here is this: we both decided to abandon the classic learning approach based on the strict dualism teacher-student. We did it in two different ways. The French NGO gamifies environmental learning. We decided to adopt a Montessori and Forest School inspired method. In both the cases what really matter is that you experience learning while you feel emotions. In Green Steps activities children learn about the natural world and are touched on many levels while being outdoors. The Climate Fresk workshop teaches not only but surely because of emotions stirred in the process of creating a mental cause-effect link.
Participating to the Climate Collage activity without a solid knowledge on the environmental crisis means to realise suddenly how are we impacting on our planet. It means also to face our responsibilities in the climate crisis. One could experience a difference set of emotions: fear, anger, sadness, resignation, sense of guilt. In other words, you learn, and you remember what you have learnt because you have felt a strong and negative set of emotions. Conversely, the activities organized by Green Steps allow children and adults to learn and remember what they learn by developing a positive experience. Connecting with nature allow you to develop an attachment to the environment through the positive emotions that you feel during the activity. Both the activities aim to make the participants learn but the emotion involved in these two processes are totally different.
Learning by playing, caring by feeling and acting by knowing is a common ground between Climate Fresk and Green Steps.
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Green Steps Seoul represents the REWILD YOURSELF exhibition at Sinsa House in Seoul
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